It’s easy to name emotions.
Love, hate, fear, anger, joy, happiness, sorrow, excitement, nervousness, and more that I can’t currently think of, so maybe it’s not so easy to name emotions!
But if I asked you how each of those emotions actually feels, physically in your body, would you be able to describe it?
For some you would be able to. For example, for me, nervousness feels like churning in my tummy and a tightening in my throat. My mouth goes dry and I feel a little (or a lot) queasy.
Excitement feels very similar – sometimes the two get muddled up and I think I’m nervous when I’m excited. Never the other way around funnily enough – if in doubt we tend to opt for the negative version – evolution taught us it’s better to assume something bad and be wrong but alive than to assume something good and get ourselves killed. This messes us up sometimes now that things are mostly harmless. (Yes, a Hitchhikers reference!)
Others are not so easy. Maybe I feel guilt, or sorrow, or loss – but rather than taking time to understand what I am feeling, to learn how that emotion feels within my body so I can recognize it again more easily in the future, I just put it in the “bad” category and do something to distract myself – probably pick up my phone and scroll through Facebook again, maybe go find a biscuit (or 4) – you know the kind of thing, I’m sure you do it too.
I think part of the reason we often don’t allow ourselves to have these feelings comes down to how we’ve been taught to have those feelings.
“Big girls don’t cry.”
“Men don’t cry.”
Even when people comfort us during crying, “there, there, ssshhh, have a tissue.” What they are implying is, please stop crying.
We are uncomfortable witnessing other people’s pain, partly because we have been taught to be uncomfortable with our own.
But it isn’t just the “bad” feelings we don’t always recognize.
Can you describe how love feels?
When do you feel loved? How do you know when you are feeling love?
Good on you if you can easily answer that question. Lot’s of people can’t.
It’s especially difficult for people whose parents weren’t the best at giving love. That doesn’t have to be to the extent of them being abusive or neglectful parents either – for some families a healthy and supportive way of showing love just isn’t taught – and probably hasn’t been for generations.
But if you don’t know what love feels like to you – how do you know when you are feeling it? How do you know if what you re feeling is something else instead, such as lust, infatuation or co-dependance? Or maybe there is lots of love around you and you are missing it, because it doesn’t feel how you expect? (I’m going to write more about this next week, keep an eye out).
Think of emotions a bit like pop-ups on our computers, telling us which program to run. The emotion pops up, and we have to recognize the icon to know what program to run – but if we haven’t learnt all the icons, we just resort to using ones that we already know well.
Getting curious about, and familiar with, our whole range of emotions will allow us to live more fully and express ourselves more clearly. It will also allow us to accept each emotion for what it is – a call to action. When we allow ourselves to answer that call rather than suppress the signal, magic happens.
Anxiety affects everyone in different ways. Whether its general anxiety, phobias, addictions, habits, weight issues or anything else you do it your own way. So, it stands to reason that the solution should be as individual as you are. I use a range of techniques, such as Hypnosis/Hypnotherapy, Life Coaching, EFT, Reiki and many other tools I’ve picked up along the way to work with YOU to find the best fit. We can work online from the comfort of your own home, or you can arrange to come to my private therapy room near Carlisle, Cumbria.